Catalytic converters have been required in automobiles to meet regulations governing emissions reduction and the neutralization of hazardous gases for the past 30 years.
However, there is always a possibility that it will develop a defect at some point during a vehicle’s lifetime.
If you get behind the wheel of a vehicle that has a broken catalytic converter, you will be breaking the law and polluting the environment.
On the other hand, this need not be the case. We are going to demonstrate to you ways in which you can repair your catalytic converter or, if necessary, install a new one.
The role that the catalytic converter plays in the engine
A catalytic converter can convert exhaust gas components that are harmful to the environment into pieces that are either safe or at least produce less pollution.
The chemical process that is responsible for this is very complicated. A large quantity of expensive and rare materials (platinum, palladium, and rhodium) are needed to complete it.
There are several varieties of catalytic converters; however, the “unregulated” variants are the only ones permitted on classic automobiles. In addition, there are the following:
They utilize either their diagnostic system or the already installed vehicle if it has one.
The fact that it is constantly monitored and regulated by sensors has given it the name “European On-board Diagnostics,” or EODB for short. However, this is true of all modern catalytic converters.
Catalysts for oxidation: These are installed in diesel vehicles and work in conjunction with the additional air present to convert carbon monoxide into carbon dioxide and nitric oxide into carbon dioxide and water.
Tri-directional catalytic agents: These are utilized in automobiles powered by gasoline and combine three chemical processes into a single component for convenience.
The formation of carbon dioxide and water from hydrocarbons, carbon dioxide and water from carbon monoxide, and nitrogen and oxygen from nitric oxide are the results of this transformation.
Catalysts that are coupled (Close-Coupled): This particular category of stimuli is not very old, but their application is still uncommon.
They come together to form one cohesive unit that functions as both the exhaust manifold and the catalytic converter in this model.
On the other hand, this also implies that their customary place in the exhaust system cannot be located. It is required that the replacement be completed in a skilled technician’s workshop.
Affordability of Purchases
Check out the website for EcoTrade or read up on “catalytic converter” on Wikipedia if you are interested in learning more about the catalyst’s process.
Symptoms and Defects
A wide variety of signs and symptoms may present if the catalytic converter is not functioning correctly.
First, it worsens engine power. It cannot accelerate correctly, which results in a reduction in the maximum speed it was previously capable of.
Because this is not an instant occurrence but rather a gradual process, few motorists will notice it.
Increased exhaust emissions are another symptom that can be difficult to identify. When something goes wrong, it becomes abundantly clear what happened.
If you wait until you hear crackling or even until the engine indicator light comes on, it is usually too late for the catalytic converter.
However, if you wait until the engine indicator light comes on, it may not be too late. A quick inspection will show whether or not it can still be saved.
Raise the car using a jack or a platform designed specifically for lifting purposes. Locating the catalytic converter should not be too difficult; once you have found it, tap against it.
If you hear a sound that is either metallic or crunching, the thin shims that are located inside have already broken and will need to be replaced. It is possible that the catalytic converter needs to be cleaned if you do not hear anything.
Let’s say the car’s catalytic converter is damaged. In that situation, the vehicle should not be driven for an extended period of time since it poses a serious hazard to the environment and the engine will automatically switch to “emergency mode” after a certain period of time.
It is not a good idea to take out the damaged catalytic converter and continue driving the vehicle without it because doing so constitutes a tax fraud offense because the car is no longer compliant with the requirements of the EURO regulations.
Additionally, if your catalytic converter is damaged, your car won’t pass the DEKRA and MOT exhaust gas inspections because it won’t emit the necessary exhaust emissions.
On the highway, easy cleaning of catalytic converters is now available.
There are already some chemicals on the market that claim to fully clean the catalytic converter.
While the vast majority of oxygen-enriched oils do not pose a threat to the natural world, their application remains contentious and even questionable.
Additionally, there are special cleansers that are specially made for diesel vehicles’ particle soot filters.
This filter is part of the exhaust system and is located alongside the catalytic converter. The application of their use is only successful in rare circumstances.
Nevertheless, there is another option available. This takes very little time, results in very little fuel waste, and assists in the burning off of any residues that may be present in the catalytic converter in many instances.
When subjected to a great deal of stress, this can reach temperatures of several hundred degrees. Drive for at least 20 kilometers on the highway, or better yet, double that distance, while maintaining a moderate or high number of revolutions (approximately 4000 RPM).
Keep up a high speed while remaining as consistent as you can. In most cases, the effect can be experienced straight away.
The faulty wiring is fixed, and power is restored. This process may be carried out regularly if the vehicle is utilized predominately in city traffic.
Changing the catalytic converter in stages
Note: Welding or bolting can be used to attach catalytic converters. The second case happens a lot less often.
As long as you have the right equipment, you should be able to change welded catalytic converters at home, even if it sounds impossible.
Since this is a moderately complex repair, if you think about doing it yourself, you already have the skills needed and won’t need any guidance.
The following equipment must be available:
- Lifting platform
- Or trench
- A wrench that can be used on nuts or rings
- Alternatively, a hex screwdriver
- An oil that can penetrate or a rust converter
- Or petroleum jelly
- Or lubricant
- Appropriate screws, if they are needed
Preparation: Put the vehicle on a lifting platform and secure it there. Examine the exhaust system, mainly where the catalytic converter is located.
Take note of the direction in which the part is mounted, and find the sensor wires that lead to the catalytic converter. Either commit everything to memory or create a rough draft.
Take the new catalytic converter out of its packaging so you can examine the different fittings. These should come with O-rings that must be installed before the assembly occurs.
The gaskets can be lubricated with grease or petroleum jelly, but in an emergency, a drop of lubricating oil can also be used and re-inserted into each housing to keep them from being lost.
Take out the lambda sensor and all the other pins that lead into the catalytic converter.
On the other hand, most modern catalytic converters are equipped with several sensors that monitor the temperature and gas emissions.
All catalytic converter bolts to the exhaust system or the bodywork should be loosened, but not unscrewed.
If they have become so corroded that they are unable to be turned, use a rust converter or penetrating oil.
Five minutes should be the allotted time to take action. You will require either a spanner wrench or a hex screwdriver, and in some circumstances, even both of these tools.
You are now able to take out the screws. Maintain the position of the outdated catalytic converter so that shear forces can be observed.
You can keep using the old screws if they are in good condition. If not, you will need to purchase new ones.
Use the rag to remove the dirt from all surfaces, including the housings of the tubes. Shiny metal should be present in the areas where the screws are located.
When in doubt, use a wire brush to remove the most deeply embedded dirt. This is not nearly as significant at the points where the pipes connect.
To properly install the new catalytic converter, you will need to rotate it so that the arrow on the mounting direction label points in the direction of the exhaust pipe.
This is of the Utmost Importance! Refer to the assembly instructions or the draft you created earlier if you are unsure what to do or if there is no arrow.
Connect the O-rings that were previously used to join the pipes to the catalytic converter. Lightly tighten all of the screws, one at a time, until they are all securely fastened.
By doing so, stresses that could harm the catalytic converter are avoided.
Return the sensor probes and the lambda sensor probes to their respective holes and connection points.
Reduce the vehicle’s height, climb inside, and turn on the engine. Pay close attention to the instruments, briefly accelerate, and pay attention to any strange sounds that may occur.
The change will have been successful if everything continues to function normally.
Note: Because of the large number of precious metals that are contained in the outdated catalytic converter, it must under no circumstances be thrown away with regular garbage.
Numerous recycling companies will pay a reasonable price for used catalytic converters. Also, nearby recycling plants will take them, but typically only for the value left after processing.
Possible errors and solutions
The catalytic converter may usually be replaced by an untrained, amateur mechanic because it is not a difficult procedure.
On the other hand, malfunctions are always possible and cannot always be avoided, particularly in modern vehicles. The following are the most common problems, as well as potential solutions:
The lambda sensor and the onboard computer may become confused once the catalytic converter has been replaced, the onboard computer warns. This is because the values that were previously set are no longer accurate.
In most cases, this is not a problem, and it should only be resolved after a few kilometers when the sensors have had enough time to adjust to the new circumstances.
If the engine indicator light comes on, it may be a sign of a more severe problem, such as a sensor that is no longer receiving any data.
In this particular scenario, you need to examine the sensor connections. Take the car to a repair facility with an onboard diagnostic system reading device if neither of these fixes works to remedy the problem.
There are puddles of water under the car: It is not uncommon for the exhaust pipe to contain a small amount of condensed water, particularly in the winter.
Imagine that a sizable puddle appears to come from the catalytic converter instead. In that case, it is possible that the screwed connection behind the catalytic converter has not been correctly fixed, allowing water to leak out.
This would cause the puddle to originate from the catalytic converter. Increase the amount of torque applied to the bolts, and while you’re there, check all the other bolts.
If that is the case, then this issue ought to be resolved.
Engine power gets worse: This error is also caused by the probes not receiving reliable values, and it should only be fixed during the very first run of the program.
If this does not occur, it is possible that one of the probes has not supported the change or that the boon board user needs to be completely reset to its factory settings. Attend a workshop as soon as humanly possible in this scenario.